One Year Later


“The guns and the bombs, the rockets and the warships, are all symbols of human failure. They are necessary symbols. They protect what we cherish. But they are witness to human folly.” – Lyndon B. Johnson (address, Johns Hopkins University, April 7, 1965)

Today, the “anniversary” of the destruction of the World Trade Center towers, has been given over to contemplation, mourning, celebration of our national spirit, etc.

I am not a political person and am woefully ignorant of political facts, so you should probably ignore what I am about to say on the subject. But here are my thoughts on terrorism, self-defense, and so on.

1. There is nothing that is more human than the desire to defend yourself — and sometimes that includes the idea of destroying that which seeks to destroy you.

2. Most people talk tough when it comes to fighting but retreat when put in serious danger.

3. As someone who has done a good deal of actual fighting, I can tell you — if you don’t know — that it is a pretty terrible thing. It’s ugly, unromantic, and destructive.

4. When I think about the hundred or so fights I’ve had in my life — several of which ended very seriously — I can think of only a few that could not have been avoided. Most of them were fought for what seems now, in retrospect, to be very silly ideas.

5. I feel that way about all the wars that have been fought in my lifetime — and particularly the wars against communism. Communism was a bad idea that fell from its own feebleness, not because we killed or got killed because of it.

6. I do think that most of the world has a negative view of the United States, but I don’t think most people want to kill us.

7. I don’t like the idea of a Muslim country’s nuking us, and I think we should take sensible measures to avoid that. But starting a war is not one of them.

8. I’m pretty sure that if we start a war we will eventually regret it.

9. Terrorism is not war, and it cannot be defeated by war. We want to think that there can be one quick solution … just wipe the bastards out …but life doesn’t work like that.

10. I’m ready to defend myself and the members of my family. I am not willing to defend them by sending one of them out there to die. If anyone is going to risk his life, I will be the one to do so. I feel that I can take care of myself.

If someone wants to break into my home, I’ll defend myself. And if someone does, it won’t matter to me what religion he is or what world view he has … if he comes in, he’s going to have his hands full. As I said, I’m not a political person. I’m sure these thoughts must strike you as less than profound.

You have yourself and your family to look after. How you do that is up to you. Assuming GB doesn’t get us into a major war in the next 14 hours, I’ll continue, on a day-by-day basis, to help you achieve your life’s productive goals.